Kuwait deports migrants with infectious diseases

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Aug 14 2013

After having deported 28,232 migrants last year and two thousand since April only for traffic violations, Kuwait is drawing more laws with deportation being the number one card of punishment against migrants. Last month, the ministry of Interior Affairs made a decision to deport migrants after committing their first major traffic violation. Today, the Health ministry announced "restricting procedures when examining expatriates" while threatening to "deport any confirmed cases of expatriates with infectious diseases."

The minister of Health Mohammed al-Abdallah al-Sabah is said to have given decisions "to make sure that migrants are clear of diseases." The minister has also issued a decision to have the ministry's health centers to transfer children of migrants who are less than 15 in age to vaccinating centers.

The decision to deport migrants for their traffic violations was only made to justify the state's failure in solving traffic issues by blaming migrants who make two thirds of the country's population. Migrants face extreme conditions to obtain driving licenses and the public transportation system fails to serve their needs.

In a racist manner, Kuwait made a controversial decision last June to segregate hospitals by assigning certain hours for citizens and others for migrants. Even in matters of health care, the state prefers to use discriminatory decisions instead of reforming the health system. Media and official statements feed a social belief in making those services a priority to citizens and that segregation can indeed solve the problem.

The statement and decisions of the Health minister reflect this arbitrary state-policy against migrants. With such restrictions and abuse of the deportation card, the minister gives the impression that migrants are the ones with infectious diseases while ignoring their rights to health care. All deportation decisions made in the region lately prove a systematical belief in not granting migrants any rights to social services and access to court. This practice has been active since the late 1980's when Gulf states deprived migrants and the stateless from their basic rights to cut on public spendings. Those developing states only became appealing for migrants in the 1960's and 70's for offering important services such as healthcare and education. The situation for Gulf migrants is drastically retreating as states plan to decrease numbers of foreigners in the labor force even if such policy had to be executed with mass deportations and collective punishments.

Advancing the rights of migrant workers throughout the Middle East